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Resilience in the Face of Job Loss

Job loss cartoon by Kodo, 2008

Job loss – involuntary or mutual separation

The start of a new year also brings on new opportunities and new challenges. One that I recently learned about is an organizational restructure which impacts several individuals. The affected teams were verbally informed just before Christmas. I can almost hear readers gasping at that decision. There is no doubt, the timing was incredibly insensitive! Notwithstanding, the restructuring message itself was ultimately heard in extraordinarily different ways.

You ask yourself: how is this possible?

Organizational decisions are conveyed by management. Where each leader typically applies their own communication style and interpretation. So, understandably the “same” message is internalized by individuals in different ways. The result: for many, a sense of uncertainty that carries through the holiday period. Today the realization sets in that some individuals will move to new teams, and some will leave the company.

So, in the face of workplace cases like this, how do we leverage mindset skills to bounce back? And not only bounce back but do so better than ever? 

Resilience to counter job loss setbacks

As Frank Sinatra famously said, “The best revenge is massive success”. In the context of this blog, it’s about harnessing the feelings, energy, and emotion associated with an involuntary job loss or mutual separation. Then, using it to our direct benefit. Negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings consume significant amounts of energy. That in turn deprives us of the ability to bounce back (the essence of resiliency). Using the energy in a positive way allows us to focus on solutions, a direct benefit to us.

How we each adapt in the face of a set-back depends on a couple of factors:

  1. Our resilience in the face of challenges
  2. Our market readiness at any given point in time

The most influential outcome factor is resilience, so how do we develop it?

Developing resiliency in ordinary times

We build resilience in everyday little ways. For instance, by establishing some boundaries around work and non-work recovery periods. During work, we can build microbreaks into our day, block shortish (2 hours max) work periods in our calendar to do things, or go for a coffee chat with a colleague. In non-work periods: take holidays, spend time with family and friends, attend cultural events (like the theatre – granted a little trickier in a pandemic) or enjoy time in a passionate pastime. 

Basically, resiliency builds when we make a conscious decision to strategically stop. Gift ourselves with the time and resources needed to leverage during and after work recovery time.

Try this strategy to see it in action. During your next business flight or train journey, build resiliency by choosing to relax, sleep, watch films, draw, or listen to entertaining podcasts. This ensures that when you get to your destination, instead of being drained or tired, you are refreshed and ready to jump back into your high-performance role!

Four steps to build resilience in moments of crisis

Beyond ordinary activities, there are four specific actions we can take to promote resiliency in ourselves and others during challenging times.

Final Thought

A job loss may just be the push we need towards a better organization, better role, or starting our own business. We need to start talking more about the ways we can increase resiliency in ourselves and each other if we want to succeed in the face of any adversity, whether it is a job loss or something else. So take a deep breath, pick yourself up and start again…

Your turn

Sign in to the Community Area or comment below to share your techniques for bouncing back from a job loss or restructuring event. Remember the January draw for a personalized copy of The Power of Potential is on. Comment, like, or reshare for your chance in the draw. Good luck!  

Give it a try!

Cartoon credit: Kodo

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